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History Repeats Itself

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Unfortunately, after observing President Obama's latest political "victories" in the now famous lame duck session, I realize how useless it really is to argue with leaders of either major party. Arguing about policy in a country which has lost all respect for history is merely a painful waste of time. Apparently, the quality of our leaders, despite their obviously adequate intelligence quotients, is inadequate to perform any but the most basic functions of life: eating, drinking, defecating and fornicating. A few can also dress themselves apparently, but it is almost impossible to find a political leader capable of cleaning up after himself.

One most unfortunate example of repeated historical stupidity is the stark similarity between Terry McAuliffe and Tim Geithner. They are both possessed of enormous talent and potential, yet both have contributed mightily to the destruction of our country. In a presidential year in which a mentally disturbed adolescent and a bright third grade student could have engineered a victory over the intellectually inadequate Junior Bush, Mr. McAuliffe managed to raise nearly one half billion dollars for the Democratic National Committee without following how a penny of it was spent. He oversaw the most mismanaged presidential campaign in history that included the nomination for vice-president of the only human being inappropriate enough to lose a debate to Dick Cheney. Thirty some millions of Ohio unspent dollars, according to Mr. McAuliffe, are still unaccounted for. As far as I know, he has not questioned those "geniuses" who mismanaged Mr. Kerry's incompetent campaign. Don't ask Paul Bagala, experienced and successful campaign manager, because he was excluded from the Kerry "mismanagement" team.

What still gives me nightmares, of course, is the shocking choice by Hillary Clinton, of Terry McAuliffe as her campaign manager in her historic bid for the presidency. Even the Clintons are not immune from the dread disease of history amnesia! True to form, McAuliffe chose a "pollster" instead of a professional campaign manager to actually run Hillary's campaign. Mark Penn, clearly out of his element, did not even have faith in his own candidate. Early in her campaign, he gave her speeches to Bill and sent Hillary out with "pom -"poms in a pants suit." Eventually he had to be replaced because of his questionable association with lobbies not aligned with Hillary. Carville and Bagala almost rescued her campaign, as Bill was soon accused of being a cheerleader and Hillary proved that she could deliver a speech. Alas, it was too late. Mr. McAuliffe had again managed to rescue defeat from the jaws of victory! What's that they say about those who do not learn their lesson from history?

Sadly, Mr. Obama has proved to be a miserable student of history as well. Besides ignoring the fact that every country that has invaded Afghanistan has either gone bankrupt or suffered serious economic and military consequences, many of his appointments show a shocking absence of vetting. Mr. Holder, an admittedly brilliant administrator, has never had any ethics as an attorney and somehow has done a worse job in this administration than he had in Mr. Clinton's. The fact that he has always prosecuted more innocent victims than guilty was somehow lost on our confused president. In the case of Mr. Geithner, Governor Eliot's Spitzer's encounter with the then head of the New York division of the Federal Reserve illustrates the abject irony of "the fox guarding the henhouse." Mr. Spitzer related how he asked "Tim" if he were regulating the major banks. Geithner's answer, according to Spitzer was that he didn't realize that he was supposed to regulate the banks. Sadly, neither he nor the apparently pleasant but useless Ben Bernanke are regulating them now. Let's see: If the banks need me to lend them money at virtually no interest, I might tell them to lend some to small businesses or maybe they wouldn't get the money! That is, I might actually regulate the scoundrels with the power I have without making new laws just so I can fail to enforce them!

The political success of President Obama in the last "lame duck" session is in some ways encouraging. By finally involving himself in passing legislation, he has shown the political initiative and experience so lacking in his first two years of the presidency. However, because of his "history amnesia," Mr. Obama has no appreciation whatsoever of his power. Senior Bush, under the guidance of Jim Baker, his secretary of state, at his own peril, passed token hikes in taxes and token cuts in spending and used the money for modest pay-down of the national debt. The interest rate on the debt fell, the value of the dollar rose and the economic recovery was launched. Clinton continued his policies with modest and judicious tax hikes, further cut spending with the use of his veto and created millions of jobs. The lesson to be learned from history: token pay-down of the national debt leads to exponential savings! Reasonable compromise is not gaining a measly seventy billion dollars by raising taxes 3% on the rich, but by raising taxes 1% on everyone, an extra three hundred plus billion dollars. Knock off a hundred billion in spending (a few useless defense contracts), pay down the debt and end up saving an extra trillion through lower interest and increased value of the dollar. Instead, a day after the "lame duck" economic "disaster," interest rates on the debt rose, resulting in an additional trillion dollars in debt! Instead of lowering our debt by one trillion four hundred and twenty five billion, we managed to raise it by at least that amount. What's that old saying? Oh. "There's nothing as heart-warming as good old-fashioned bipartisan stupidity."

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Dr. Allen Finkelstein, writing since 2006 under the penname “O’finky,” was born in New York, where he attended the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County as a boy. He continued his religious training in South Florida until his family, (more...)

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